I got into a discussion with one of my coworkers about vegetarianism. I like to think I've heard every excuse in the book, but this one I had trouble responding to. I can be inarticulate at times when caught off guard and I couldn't give her a decent response.
She said that this was the problem she had with veganism/vegetarianism: basically, by not eating meat, we would be taking away the existence of cows, since they are bred for us to eat. So we would be taking away their chance to live.
I reminded her about how they are treated horribly and pretty much tortured. She then compared brought up the projects in Harlem (I live in NYC). She said, "so we should euthenize kids in the projects? Because they have pretty horrible lives."
I said that we don't EAT PEOPLE and I didn't agree with the comparison. But other than that, I couldn't say much. What do you guys think? What should I say to her? I'm so frustrated with myself.
I don't even understand your co-worker's argument.
To quote Earl Langrebe, noted as one of the "10 dumbest" members of the House of Representatives back in the mid-70's, "my mind's made up, don't confuse me with the facts." Sounds like she shares Earl's mentality.
yes... her argument sounds kind of silly...she just set on opposing Vegan/Veg. Ofcourse every person in the world is not going to give up eating meat and dairy. I like this quote from PETA (may not be worded exact) "Im opposed to killing but I am opposed to SUFFERING more." The treatment of the animals is actually more sad to me...and i think all people with a heart would feel the same whether they eat meat or not.
Her argument is rather Aristotelian, actually (well the first part at least), where the essense of something is the purpose it serves. In her mind, the purpose of cows is to feed us, so if no one eats them, they would serve no purpose (and, she reasons, would thus die...although that doesn't really follow any logic to me.)
I would counter such an argument by reminding her that no animal, cows included, was always domesticated; therefore, cows had an existence and served a purpose in the ecosystem long before humans started messing around with them. Thus, you are not in favour of killing cows, but rather of returning them to their natural state of being.
As for the second part of her argument, you could more clearly point out how such a comparison does not apply. Firstly, you are vegan/vegetarian because (presumably) you are against the killing of animals. Thus, her comparison would be more appropriate to the mass slaughter of cows (killing them because they have bad lives/are in a powerless situation/are more useful as meat than anything else). Your position (which I'm assuming here is "free the cows") is actually more akin to helping kids in Harlem realize full and fulfilling lives (i.e. removing them from a negative situation).
If Rick's assessment of your coworker is more accurate than mine (I'm assuming that she could hold rational debate), this might go way over her head, so I'd stick with his advice, not be too hard on yourself, and just let it go.
Thank you guys! And Joanna - no, she's actually one of the most intelligent people I know, and that's why I was having trouble holding my own. I may not have phrased her argument in the right way. But what you said is PERFECT. Thank you.
So your coworker thinks that we should continue to kill cows, because otherwise they would be dead?
Factory farming is "for the cows' own sake"?
I don't think many vegans/vegetarians want cows euthanized. Rather we'd like to see cows lead full lives and reduce the bovine population. You don't have to bring euthanasia into the picture to do that; cows don't breed "naturally" anyway, they're artificially inseminated.
And I don't really understand how impoverished/disadvantaged children are the same as cows living in their own filth for a year or two before being killed for food. I mean, does a cow in a feed lot have any opportunity to better its situation?
This is actually pretty funny, when you think about. An omnivore accusing a vegetarian of "hurting the animals"!
Mickah, Do not worry over what other people say and think. My co-workers understand I am doing this for medical reasons. type2 diabetes, and high cholestrol..My doctor fussed about the cholestrol as my diabetes are under control so that is when I decided to go vegan. Purchased Alicia's book. My family on the other hand thinks I am going overboard but just wait and see what happens and I am in my mid 50's. Take care , we are here for you!!!